With one of the only three remaining glaciers in all of Africa and one of Africa’s highest peaks, Uganda is a hiker and mountaineer’s dream. Margherita Peak is Africa’s third highest peak, although the real beauty of this Uganda tour is in the climb up the Kilembe route where the forest flora is diverse and the valleys a mass of ferns.
The trees are alive with many species of birds and primates and, as you walk up the trail, you will see chimp nests high up in the tall trees. The reward and exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous as you look across Albert Peak to Congo, then east across the spectra of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Hike to see the rare mountain gorillas in a misty rainforest.
Spot chimpanzees and other primates on guided treks in a biodiverse forest.
Visit one of Africa’s wildest parks for lions, ostriches, and scenic landscapes.
Enjoy an easy-to-reach savanna park for wildlife and water activities.
Hike to see mountain gorillas and visit the Batwa people in a volcanic landscape.
Marvel at the world’s most powerful waterfall and see lions, elephants, and giraffes on safari.
During these months, the weather is generally warm and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 29°C (77°F to 84°F) during the day. The average rainfall per month ranges from 46mm (1.8”) to 86mm (3.4”). It is an ideal time to visit for wildlife safaris and gorilla trekking, as the drier conditions make it easier to navigate through the national parks.
This period experiences relatively higher precipitation, with rainfalls ranging from 86mm (3.6”) from September to November to averages of around 147mm (5.8”) from March to May. The rainforest landscapes become lush and vibrant during this time, but it’s important to note that travel conditions can be more challenging due to occasional heavy rains and muddy trails. However, the rainy season also offers unique opportunities for birdwatching and witnessing the spectacular waterfalls at their fullest.
Arrival in Kasese either by plane from Entebbe or by car from your tour. Get prepared for the hiking adventure. Pack a small backpack. Other safari luggage can be stored at the hotel.
Start at Trekkers at 1,450 metres and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 metres, a height gain of 1,146 metres. We start at Trekkers, at 1,450 metres, and walk up the valley floor through tall forest trees of the Afro Montane Forest Zone. This is a steady climb with multitudes of birds and a chance to see blue monkeys scampering off through the forest. At times, visitors may see troupes of 15 to 20 black and white Colobus monkeys as they swing through the tree tops.
There are also rare sightings of the L’Hoest monkey which are part of the Bukonzo cultural emblems and are protected by the virtue of the King, or Omusinga. You may hear wild chimpanzee in the distance. There is wide variety of plant species from forest trees to bamboo thickets, low shrubs, flowers, fungi, and with lots of moss and lichen-covered vines hanging from the tall trees, creating an awesome appeal. At 2,596 metres we reach the narrow ridge which is home to Sine Camp.
Here we have wooden huts set between tall forest trees where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the forest while you look down at the vivid green vegetation and crashing waters of Enock Falls. You can spend the evening enjoying the warmth of the campfire and chatting to the guides about the mountains and life in their community.
Sine is just below the bamboo zone and the area around has many different bird species. Sleep at Sine, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so. Apart from the fantastic views, a night at Kalama gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres, with great views.
After a good breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30am and you enter the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone which is a steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery, making the going slow. However, the atmosphere and the forest are beautiful as you climb 551 metres altitude and a distance of 1.8km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 metres, which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone.
Here you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls, along a ridge top and then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again and, in doing so, crosses several small streams and passes close to moss covered waterfalls. You then climb steadily along the side of a beautiful mossy river which tumbles down over the rocks under the Giant Heather trees, whose trunks are covered in green moss with old man beards (Usnea lichen) hanging from the branches.
The trail twists and turns as you climb up the deep valley, which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This valley is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere, often shrouded in mist. In the afternoon you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one to two hours up and one hour down). The views are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 metres with views across the Rwenzori Mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George.
Climbing Mutinda, 3,975 metres, is also an excellent way to acclimatise and reduce the risk of high altitude sickness during the climb at Margherita Peak.
A 4.9km trek today, starting at 3,688 metres and climbing to 4,062 metres. The trail here is boggy, particularly in the wet season, but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. We have put several boardwalks across the worst of the bogs and are continuing to build more to make it a little bit easier. You cross the Mutinda valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers, interspersed with many Giant Lobelias, before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley, 3,840 metres, which ends abruptly with sheer waterfalls and fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks.
The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs and you will cross several bogs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,062 metres. Bugata Camp is situated way up Bamwanjara Pass, high above Bugata Lake and with views across Lake Kopello to Weismann’s Peak, which is often covered with snow, then down the valley to views of Lake Africa and Lake Kanganyika and the many small peaks towards Mutinda Camp. The area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers (Helichrysum), St John’s Wort (Hypericum becquaeritii), giant groundsel (Senecio adnivalis) and Giant lobelia (Lobelia gibberoa).
There are many Red Forest Duiker (Cephalophuc nigrifrons rubidus), which are a sub-species only found in the Rwenzori Mountains. Bugata Camp has good facilities, solar lights, good toilets and bathrooms with hot water available.
Trek to Hunwick’s Camp via Bamwanjara Pass. As you leave Bugata Camp you trek up a ridge then drop down slightly before ascending to Bamwanjara Pass at 4,450 metres, where we have a hut should the weather turn bad. On a clear day you get excellent views of the three main peaks. The trail passes down the valley and around the edge of some bogs and thick evergreen vegetation, moss, giant groundsel and lobelia.
Here is possibly the best place in all the Rwenzori to observe the Malachite Sunbird as it feeds on the many lobelia flowers in a known breeding site. Further on there are some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick’s Camp which looks down into a deep valley and has good views of Mt Stanley, Mt Baker, Weismann’s Peak and McConnell’s Prong.
From Hunwick’s we pass down and across the valley floor to Lake Kitendara, which is very stunning with deep water and beautiful vegetation. From here you climb up Scott Elliott’s pass then up the ridge to Margherita Camp which, at 4,485 metres, is situated between some huge rocks that offer some shelter from the strong winds. This is the very spot where the Duke of Abruzzi camped when making his climb to Margherita Peak in 1906.
Wake up at 2am and catch an early breakfast before heading off at 2.30am to climb Mt Stanley. The early start is necessary as, even during the drier season, the mountain often becomes closed in with heavy clouds and snowfalls from 1 pm to 4pm. The weather can change rapidly as the clouds rise up from the extensive Congo rainforests. For safety reasons, we have to start our return to camp at 10am, even if the peak hasn’t been reached. Margherita glacier has also suffered as a result of global warming. As the outer edges of the glacier recede, the ice is becoming steeper.
One section of about 200 metres has a gradient of more than 60%. Combined with this, much of the blacker ice has melted underneath causing caves under the ice which, as it gets thinner, eventually caves in. It is necessary that clients understand this and take advice from the guides about where to pass. For those clients with less mountaineering experience, we suggest that you stay on Stanley glacier.
You can climb up to a good vantage point on a rocky outcrop on the southern edge of Alexandra Peak and enjoy fantastic views over Congo and the lower mountain ridges. After ascending the peak at 5,109 metres you then pass directly down to Hunwick’s Camp at 3,874 metres.
Distance to Kiharo Camp 11km. Time taken to walk, 4 to 7 hours From Hunwick’s Camp we start the day by climbing up a ridge towards McConnell’s Prong, where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass, before reaching Oliver’s Pass at 4,505 metres. The distance from Hunwick’s Camp to the top of Oliver’s Pass is 3km. The trail then cuts across below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River which flows down through Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
If you wish to climb the 4,620 metre Weismann’s Peak from Oliver’s pass, you may do so at an extra cost of $20 each. On a clear day you get fantastic views of Margherita and Mt Stanley, Mt Speke and Mt Baker. After crossing the confluence the trail meanders down the valley to Kiharo Camp, which is situated in a deep valley with high cliffs and dense vegetation.
On the way down the valley, after each bog you will climb over a ridge of stones and earth. These seem out of place but were actually pushed there by slow moving glaciers which eventually stopped moving, melted and left a pile of rocks and debris in front of where the glacier once stood.
Distance from Kiharo Camp to the park gate, 12.2km and another 2.8km down to Trekkers Hostel. Time to walk, 5 to 8 hours. The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning, with beautiful views. The moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains.
This part of the trail took us six years to find a way through and a route which is easy enough for tourists to use. In 1937 the explorer and geologist McConnell tried to find a way up this valley but failed and had to turn back and search for another route up the mountain, but now you can experience this truly beautiful valley. A few kilometres from Kiharo Camp the path turns off to the right to pass along the river. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding in small clearings as you pass along the river.
If you wish, you may prefer to walk down the river itself hopping across the rocks as you pass down. A few kilometres down the river it becomes very steep with multitudes of waterfalls, so we have to move away from the river and follow a narrow ridge to bypass steep sections. At the bottom we again meet the river where there is a huge rock shelter called Riverside Rock Shelter where you have lunch. After crossing a small stream, you climb up a gentle slope as it is too steep close to the river. The forest along this section is truly beautiful with many birds, primates, duikers and hyrax. A great experience and ending to a fantastic trek.
After a long shower and a good night’s sleep in Kasese you can continue your Ugandan tour or transfer to Entebbe for your homeward flight.
Our tailor-made trips are designed to offer you the best possible value to make your East African safari experience a memorable one. As a boutique tour operator, we are happy to personalise your trip budget and package according to your needs.
Please treat all pricing as a guide only, as customisations made to this itinerary, style of travel, and number of guests may raise or lower the overall cost. All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice. Single supplements may apply.
For the best, most current rates available, request a quote or speak to one of Kikooko Africa Safari’s travel experts.
Founder, Kikooko Africa Safaris
All our itineraries can be adapted to suit your personal interests and preferences.
Please feel free to discuss these with us so we can personalise your tour for your maximum enjoyment.
For the most current rates for your party, request a quote or speak to one of Kikooko Africa Safari’s travel experts.
We respond to all inquiries within 2 business days.